I think I mentioned it before. The movie Saving Private Ryan. If you want to understand the horror of war, watch Saving Private Ryan. It is beyond my mind to understand the horror of the beach landings. What a waste of lives. I cannot begin to imagine what it must have felt like to be there.
While I am on the topic of war. It always amazes me when people romanticize the South African Border War. The few people that I know who actually was in the WAR, never talks about it. Why would you recall the horror of war? Yes, I love guns and armored vehicles and the mechanics and technology thereof. Yes, I like shooting. But somewhere I lost the need to hunt. No, I am not criticizing those who do, because I just recently bought some Kudu Biltong. That Kudu definitely did not die of old age. I love to shoot, I have no urge to kill.
I am digressing, a sure sign of old age.
IN THE CEMETARY
Back to Saving Private Ryan. The movie opens with a family walking into a cemetery, one of those war cemeteries in Europe that should be enough to put any sane person off war forever. The man falls down at a grave and the movie morphs to the past. Then in the last scene, as Captain Miller dies, he says to Private Ryan “Earn this.”
We morph back to the cemetery, to an aged Private Ryan who says to his wife “Please tell me I have been a good man.” (My memory may also be a bit hazy, but that is how I remember it.)
Every morning I lie in bed with my first cup of coffee and catch up on the news via my cell phone. This morning I read about Discovery Health’s view of what happened in the last 168 days. I trust their insights, since they have the data. The thing that caught me was this:
“Data insights from financial services group Discovery, shows that up to 16,000 South African lives will have been saved from Covid‑19 related deaths by 2021, as a result of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.” EARN THIS, EARN IT!
We will never know who those 16 000 people are. It could be myself, my wife, my children or grandchildren. It could be you who read here. Somehow, each and every one of us could be among those 16 000. We will never know.
But whoever the 16 000 are, they are extremely expensive lives! The article goes on to state how preventative screenings dropped, how people with chronic disease did not follow up with treatment, perhaps because they are scared of contracting COVID-19 at the doctor. Some people survived the Corona, but might now die of cancer! Earn it!
When I read the article my first thought was: “It is a hell of a price to pay for 16 000 people.” Apparently 3 000 000 (that is THREE MILLION) people lost there jobs. That could be 3 million families suffering and losing everything they ever had. Since one person supports an extended family, the number of people who suffer because of these retrenchments could go much, much higher. If each person supports 4 people, it means 12 million people are affected by these retrenchments. EARN IT!
When I think in my own circle, friends and clients and how many of them suffer because of lockdown. If I think of them, the cost of 16 000 lives become personal. EARN IT!
And, did it work?
It is day 168. I remember writing a number of times that this pandemic will change the world. Looking back. I do not think the world has changed yet, at least not for the better.
The context is completely different, but I like the sentiment of Churchill’s speech:
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” – EARN IT!
For me and my family and friends to live, a few million people are suffering. The opposite of Churchill’s speech!
But what if each one of us would live like Private Ryan with gratitude for what we received at the expense of others. LIFE. What if we lived with gratitude and the purpose of EARN IT! What if we paid it forward?
At the end of my life?
At the end of my life, will I be able to look back at those soldiers who died on the beaches of Normandy to free me from a Fascist Dictator who would ruin the world and, like Private Ryan say: “Please tell me I have been a good man?” Not only for the soldiers who died decades before I was born, but also for the people who suffer in 2020 due to a pandemic, that 16 000 lives could be saved! And more importantly, will people honestly confirm that I have been OK?
Long ago I read a quote that I cannot remember exactly anymore, but it went something like this:
“I traded all my tomorrows so you can have a future.”
EARN IT! Make the world a better place.